Stories like this one, poignant and inspirational, abound in Vietnam, especially during the annual rite of passage that is the university entrance examination. As the article points out, the demand for postsecondary education far outstrips supply and graduation is much easier than admission.
To take the most important test of her life, Le Thi Hoai Thuong, 18, traveled 38 hours by bus with her father, a rice and corn farmer who doesn’t want his daughter to become a rice and corn farmer.
This month, 1.9 million high school seniors in Vietnam took a college admission test. Reflecting the country’s rapid modernization — the government seeks to reach worldwide averages by 2020 — a generation of teenagers now views college education as a fundamental requirement. The problem is, the college education system hasn’t grown, or improved, at a rate commensurate with demand. Vietnam, with 89 million people, has fewer than 400 colleges and universities. The United States, with 310 million people, has more than 4,400.
Vietnamese teens’ thirst for college outpaces country’s educational system (The Washington Post, 24.7.10)